The 9th Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate the process of computerising the country’s oil sector.
Deliberating on the motion sponsored by Sen. George Sekibo during Thursday’s plenary, the Senate said the motive is to curb the multifaceted challenges associated with the oil and gas production, transportation, and its sale in the country.
It further directed its joint committee on petroleum upstream, downstream and gas resources to convene a public hearing to ascertain the quantity of oil and gas produced daily and the quality control mechanism engaged by NNPC.
The committee was also mandated to determine the amount of waste of petroleum products through pilfering, pipeline vandalisation and leakages, and international best practices of computerized oil and gas business management, including pipeline protection and quantity and quality control.
The Senate reached this resolution after adopting the motion sponsored by Sen. Sekibo and 29 others on the “need to install computerized oil facilities management gadgets for Nigerian crude oil businesses.”
While presenting the motion, Sen. Sekibo, representing Rivers East Senatorial District said it is of concern that while other countries in the same business venture have gone digital for the past 50 years, Nigeria still uses analogue technology in its petroleum technology.
Senator Sekibo explained that Nigeria still uses 4 people to monitor a kilometre of pipeline, giving undue opportunities to oil pilfering, and rise to unnecessary pipeline explosions, causing deaths and unquantifiable loss of products and other human valuables.
He expressed his regret that, after 61 years of the oil business, Nigeria could not give an account of the total amount of oil products produced, sold, wasted and lost through pilfering, or pipeline vandalization.
In his words, “ … One key area of fighting corruption is through effective management of the resource itself, that is the source of revenue just as this administration emphasizes the fight against revenue pilfering by the operators”.
A computerized oil management system assists in the pipeline protection and triggers off alarms when any section of the pipeline is disturbed for whatever reason. The system detects if there is a weak section, captures suspected intruders on the pipeline, and is equipped with fire fighting gadgets in the event of fire outbreaks.